# Industrial PCs

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#### Crystal Majercik

We are a systems integrator specializing in Industrial Automation and Control. Presently we have spent days searching for an Industrial PC that by no means is considered standard. Most
industrial PCs provide access to the drives from the top. In our application it is imperative that we have access to all drives, from the front only. Our intent is to modify the PC with an additional plug-in board, while also meeting additional criteria such as Floppy Drive, Pentium III, CDROM, Full Size ISA. At one time we thought a company such as Beckoff (sounds like) branded such an Industrial PC.

I would appreciate any recommendations to this critical path.

In anticipation,

Crystal D. Majercik
Marketing Communications Manager
Integrated Industrial Technologies (I=B2T)
221 Seventh Street, Suite 200
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
PH: 412-828-1200
FX: 412-828-0320
URL: www.i2t-inmotion.com

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#### Ralphsnyder, Grayg

Why do you want to buy an 'industrial pc'? What are your specifications? What is your application?

For a good many applications I suggest that you get an off the shelf commodity PC (I have had about ten years of good experience with Dell so far) and put it into one of the many industrial enclosures that you can either buy off the shelf or modify to suit your needs. Desktop pcs are relatively cheap nowadays. I think that (the price of the PC + the enclosure - headache finding exactly what you want) < ( cost of an industrial pc that needs an enclosure anyway).

Grayg Ralphsnyder

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#### holtek

Funny you should ask about this the same time someone else asked about VMEbus. If you can afford it you can put together a industrial PC using VME components including a Hard Drive/Floppy Drive card in a 19" eurobus rack. I've used units from Xycom (http://www.xycom.com/products/vmebus/977.html) but there are plenty of other manufacturers. Alternatively, you should be able to find a rack-mounted PC meant for RAID applications that has one or more removable HD modules. Most industrial computer manufacturers will offer this option.

Jerry Holzer
R&D Electrical Engineer
Curt G. Joa, Inc - Boynton Beach, FL

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DISCLAIMER: The contents of this message may not be consistent with the views or policies of my employer, Curt G. Joa, Inc.

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#### Michael Klothe

Try Nematron in Ann Arbor, MI. Their "FLexbox" line has removable drives and may give you what you want.

http://www.nematron.com/

Another option is to build your own: There are rack-mount and panel-mount drives to be had -- for example they are widely used by CNC builders. Combine a couple of those with your own motherboard, power supply, etc.

Michael E. Klothe
ELECTRICAL DESIGN & CONTROL, INC.
Detroit, USA

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#### Dale Witman

Crystal,

I have not found an Industrial PC worth its money. The components in an industrial PC are the same as I use on my desktop except for the mounting of the hard drive, maybe they use a little better shock mounting, big deal! The internal components are proprietary and costly and they are not any better in my experience. I always recommend using a standard PC or even a
clone to save money. Try using a hard drive bay that plugs into any standard pc where a floppy drive or CD can be installed. These devices can be purchased for as little as US$15.00 and they enable you use another drive very quickly if it is needed. I use this technique to investigate different operating sytems and even for taking data drives from my office to my home machines. Dale Witman K #### Kirk S. Hegwood Crystal, Look at Automationdirect.com D4-470 Industrial Computer. It might suit your purpose. Kirk S. Hegwood President Signing for Hegwood Electric Service, Inc. J #### Jansen, Joe The other replies I have seen seemed to miss the part about accessing the drives fromthe front. Do you need something wahdown? (NEMA 4 / IP65). I have just found a supplier named Advantech Direct. My first order is shipping Friday. Looking through the catalog, I see an integrated PC/Screen/partial keyboard, Panel mount, Nema4/IP65 with CDROM and Floppy access through the front, behind a flip open door. Model# is AWS-843HTP. Fully configured (cpu. touchscreen, RAM, etc) price is ~$3800. In the pic, I see at least 1 full size ISA / EISA slot open.

If you don't need the integrated screen, look at the IPC-610 product line. That is what I ordered. They are a passive backplane system, rackmounted. The one I am getting has 9 ISA slots, 4 PCI slots, and 1 CPU card slot.

or call 877-294-8989 and talk to Lia. She was awesome helping me price out what I needed, and the final cost was actually somewhat less than what the catalog advertised!

HTH

--Joe

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#### rb taylor

Try Vatyx. They have some special chassis. They also do custom boxes to any spec.

www.vatyx.com

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#### Crystal Majercik

Nematron can definitely help, providing that they can give us a full-size box.

Crystal - I2T

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#### J-F Portala

Hi,
several years ago, I used industrial PC.
We have tried several kind of material. Here are my conclusions. Ordinary PC are quite more powerfull than industrial PC (especially PC with passive bus). There is a delay for industrial PC
to integrate last CPUs or chipsets. I have destroyed two motherboards of industrial PC when disconnecting the monitor cable (the power was On). The use of passive buses implies to exchange the boards from one slot to another one in order to make the system working. I had numbers of problems with industrial PCs. Since 4 years, I only use ordinary PCs. I am installing industrial vision systems based on PC in sawmills where
conditions are severe.(some of them works 24h per day) The sole problems I have encountered are:
mechanical problems
Floppys, CD-Rom and keyboards to change because of dust.
These components are cheap, and are as usual as a fuse or a lamp.
software problems (system (NT4) does not boot anymore)
In order to have a robust application, take care to have a secondary system on a second disk (with a rack).Especially if you use Windows as operating system.
You can also share your disk in several parts and install clones of the principal system on each.

The industrial PCs have evoluted and perhaps the problems I have described are isolated, but the cost between ordinary and industrial PC is important and I do not intend to use industrial PCs.

If you need industrial PCs, it is perhaps why you intend to put it in a electronic enclosure. If it is the case, an ordinary PC will be protected from dust as well as the industrial PC.

Regards.

J-F Portala
SoViLor company
[email protected]

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#### Joe Jansen

-> several years ago, I used industrial PC.
-> We have tried several kind of material.
-> Here are my conclusions.
-> Ordinary PC are quite more powerfull than industrial PC

True, but (honestly) do you need the power from the latest gaming systems available to run on a production floor?

-> (especially PC with passive bus). There is a delay for industrial PC
-> to integrate last CPUs or chipsets.

Yes, and that is good. Look at the troubles with Intel's 820 chipset and the MTH, causing systems to hang so much, that Intel is recalling and
replacing components on every motherboard. This is exactly why industrial PC's need to wait. I don't want bleeding edge stuff running (and crashing) my systems.

-> I have destroyed two motherboards of
-> industrial PC when disconnecting the monitor
-> cable (the power was On).

Well, don't do that. That will potentially destroy your video card in a regular PC. The reason the mother board went out (I would guess) is that the video was integrated, so you blew the video drivers on the MB. Same thing.

-> The use of passive buses implies
-> to exchange the boards from one slot to another one in order to
-> make the system working.

what?

-> I had numbers of problems with
-> industrial PCs. Since 4 years, I only use ordinary PCs. I am
-> installing industrial vision systems based on PC in sawmills where
-> conditions are severe.

I work in a dairy processing system. Palnt floor in the summer is typically 110 degrees F or more, with humidity around 80 to 90 percent (We use steam in all of our processing equipment). If it isn't NEMA4 / IP65, it condenses and dies almost immediately. White box PC's can't hack it. We
have 2 out there (It is a vendors fault, and they wouldn't change them) and we have special air conditioning units and filters on sealed cabinets to try to protect them. It doesn't work real well.

(some of them works 24h per day)

Yes, that goes without saying, other than when Windows dies, all of them are 24X7.

The sole
-> problems I have encountered are: mechanical problems
-> Floppys, CD-Rom and keyboards to change because of dust.
-> These components are cheap, and are as usual as a fuse or a
-> lamp.
-> software problems (system (NT4) does not boot anymore)
-> In order to have a robust application, take care to have a
-> secondary system on a second disk (with a rack).Especially if
-> you use Windows as operating system.
-> You can also share your disk in several parts and install clones
-> of the principal system on each.
->
-> The industrial PCs have evoluted and perhaps the problems I have
-> described are isolated, but the cost between ordinary and industrial
-> PC is important and I do not intend to use industrial PCs.

I pay ~$3000 USD per system. This includes video, touchscreen, etc. For the water proof enclosure and vibration proof mounting of all internal components, and not having to baby the system, it is worth it. -> If you need industrial PCs, it is perhaps why you intend to put it in -> a electronic enclosure. If it is the case, an ordinary PC will be -> protected from dust as well as the industrial PC. Yes, but what of the screen, KB, Mouse, etc? Especially if it is (in our case) a washdown area? (Think 'operator with a hose') D #### Dean Colwell Contact Anil Weerisinha @ California Designs and Systems http://www.cdspanther.com Several years ago I had him design a panelmount "industrial" pc with front access. The company I used to work for still uses them (>30 per year) with good success. Tell him I sent you. R #### Reagan Thomas Each industrial environment is unique. I go with the original poster to a large degree, but you must judge your own needs. Here is a breakdown of hardware pro's and con's in an industrial setting based on my experience: Industrial PC: Pros: a. robust b. well supported by vendor (usually) Cons: a. expensive b. lags techologically c. often contains non-standard hardware (passive buss systems, also adds to expense) Standard PC: Pros: a. cheap (consumer market drives prices) b. standard hardware c. immediate availability/easy to stock d. if well protected, main unit can endure nearly as well as industrial units) Cons: a. cheap (as in cheap construction) b. direct replacement availability subject to the whims of the consumer market. Now some more commentary. You mention that peripheral hardware, such as keyboards, may experience extreme conditions. This is true. A customer of ours builds and tests hydraulic pumps with our machines. This customer was unhappy with the life expectancy of the standard (read cheap) keyboards we used out front (they were protected only by a keyboard cover or condom as we call them). So they purchased several expensive 'industrial' keyboards for their machines. Their life expectancy turned out to be exactly the same as that of the cheap keyboards. The problem was mechanical abuse (ie, smashing the keyboard with a tool or even a pump, accidentally). So, in this case: cheap keyboard$10 to $30, lasts 2 to 6 months, industrial keyboard,$250 to \$600, lasts 2 to 8 months. I know which one I'll choose for similar applications in the future.

It all boils down to understanding the application environment, cost, support and political factors. So make the decision based on your circumstance, there is no blanket solution.